332 B. POLEVOI "Where are you off to?" said the colonel, intercepting him. He took Meresyev's hand and squeezed it with his own small, wiry hand so hard that it hurt. "Well, what can I say to you? Good lad! I am proud to have men like you under me___Well, what else? Thanks-----Yes, and that pal of yours, Petrov I mean. He's a good lad, too. And the others.... I tell you, we can't lose the war with men like you!" And again he firmly squeezed Meresyev's hand. It was night before Meresyev found himself in his dug- out, but he could not fall asleep. He turned his pillow over, counted up to a thousand and then counted back- wards, recalled all his acquaintances whose names began with "A", then with "B", and so on, and then started unblinkingly at the dim light of the kerosene-lampóbut all these welltried methods of inducing sleep proved ineffective. No sooner did he shut his eyes than familiar pictures rose before him, now vividly, and now barely distinguishable in the gloom: Grandpa Mikhail's troubled eyes looking at him from under his silvery locks; Andrei Degtyarenko blinking his "cow's eyelashes"; Vasily Vasi- lyevich shaking his grey-streaked mane and scolding somebody; the old sniper, his soldier's face wrinkled up in a smile; he saw the waxen face of Commissar Vorobyov against the white background of his pillow, gazing at him with his clever, penetrating, bantering, understanding eyes; Zinochka's red hair flashed before him, fluttering in the breeze; little, vivacious Instructor Naumov smiled and winked at him with sympathy and understanding. Many splendid, friendly faces looked and smiled at him out of the darkness, rousing recollections and filling his already overflowing heart with warmth. But from among these friendly faces, and at once blotting them out, arose the face of Olya, the lean face and large, tired eyes of a boy in an officer's uniform. He saw her as clearly and distinctly as if she were really before himóand in a way he had never seen her in real life. So vivid was the vision that it startled him. What was the use of trying to sleep! Conscious of an influx of joyous energy, he sat up, trimmed the "Stalin- gradka", tore a page out of an exercise book, sharpened the point of his pencil and began to write.